Andrea Lake has started 14 companies. Without a college degree. She started her first business at 17 called Rhythm Styx. When she was 23 she made her first $1 million dollars with a t-shirt company. Amongst all the success lies the failures. A series of unfortunate events led to her being $1.2 million in debt. Right when the economy crashed.
You have started 14 businesses. That’s incredible and you don’t have a college degree. How did you get started? Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Andrea found the idea of working for someone else terrifying. She started the Rhythm Styx company when she was 17. When she was making the decision to go to college, she realized that she already knew how to make money. Her company had already made over $75000. She decided to focus on her business. A few years later she met someone making $1 million a year selling t-shirts, so she decided to start a clothing company. She started her first clothing line, Anti-establishment Clothing and made her first $1 million at 23.
So did that person become your mentor? Was there any competition?
That person did become Andreas mentor but t-shirts are what Andrea calls a bottomless market as everybody needs t-shirts, so there wasn’t any competition between them.
What did that mentor do to guide you from $75000 to $1 million? That’s a huge jump. What changed in you?
At the core, it was a change in style of the company from one which manufactured products. With t-shirts she could buy the t-shirts ready made and then just get them printed.
What do you think shifted in your mindset?
Andrea knew she wanted to be rich. That was her sole focus because it would mean she would be free to do whatever she wanted with her life. She didn’t know how she was going to achieve this.
Did you ever feel like you made a mistake by not going to college?
In her 30’s she realized that one of the reasons for going to college is having access to the alumni network. But if she was to do life again she still wouldn’t go to college. Unless you are going to college for a highly specialized education which is monetized afterward, college probably isn’t worth it.
Did your parents put pressure on you to go to college?
They did. Both of her parents had been the first person in their families to go to college. They both went back to college after Andrea was born to pursue masters degrees. There was an expectation that Andrea would go to college. But she sat down with her parents and showed her what her company was making.
So you built your case for why you didn’t need to get to college and it sounds like they supported you?
They did and when Andrea started her clothing line they gave her the money they had saved for college.
One of my passions is dispelling this myth that you need to get a conventional education to achieve what you want. Especially entrepreneurs.
Definitely. Andrea has taught at colleges across the country and thinks that unless you are going to a school like Harvard, it’s not worth it. An MBA is going to teach you how to work in the corporate world and not how to be an entrepreneur.
I know that you’ve had some moments of debt. One where you lost $1.2 million dollars. You paid it all off and came back stronger. Can you tell us that story?
Andrea has lost everything twice. She had a company which was featured on Oprah and was told to expect 40000 sales. But through a long series of events, they only had 70 sales. She had personally financed the company. That same week, a company she owned that had licenses for several gaming brands, had $2 million worth of merchandise returned. The following week the IRS called to say she owed 6 figures due to mistakes on the previous years taxes. And then the economy collapsed. It was the perfect storm of circumstances.
How did you get through that? How did you feel you came back stronger?
It took a long time. Andrea would beat herself up. She would talk to herself worse that she would ever talk to anybody. “How the fuck did you fuck up your entire life? I can’t believe what a fucking idiot you are.” She would talk to herself like that all day every day for 3 or 4 years. None of the things that happened were unwise choices but she couldn’t step back from what happened.
So how did you come back? You had such negative self-talk. What did you do that you felt got you out of that mental negativity?
Andrea had built an amazing community of friends who helped her get out of it. And she realized she was good at business. Slowly she came back to herself. She strengthened her meditation and yoga practice, continued slowly working on her companies and believed that things would come around.
I know you practice the law of attraction. So where did that come into play?
She was actually in a negative space before everything that happened to her businesses. She believes that we vibrationally receive back what we give out. Despite paying herself $750,000 a year, she had negative vibrations around money. She once met a waitress who had 3 kids and had the best money vibration she has come across. It’s an intrinsic thing and doesn’t have to be about how much you earn.
She decided to make happiness and self care her focus which then gave her the space to feel good about her companies.
I think it’s really interesting when you talk about money vibration. So was that something you would do when you were say hiking – get into a better vibration?
The idea is that circumstances and events are going to match the emotional state that you are in. If you’re happy about something good things will come to you.
How important do you think strategy is?
Strategy is important but you should only create a strategy when you are in a truly inspired place. You know the next right step for your business.
You now have a company which teaches people to start t-shirt businesses. I know there’s a formula to that. You’ve mapped out the strategy. If someone wants to start a different business, do you think there is a similar formula?
Andrea actually has another company that advises people on the right strategy for their business. There is a lot of generalized information out there. Andrea wanted to connect people to entrepreneurs in the industry they are creating a business in. If you want to start a restaurant, your mentor should be a restaurateur.
Is there anything you see which are the main through-lines?
There are common success and failure points specifically in product companies. Typically people fail because they misallocate their budget and don’t know how to do a minimum viable product. Testing things online is not enough you have to go somewhere and sell things physically. The information you gain from seeing people interact with your product is invaluable.
What do love about business so much?
She loves having an idea or concept in her mind and having it come into reality. Especially as she mostly makes physical products.
How do you think about time?
She doesn’t. She would think about time more if she had regulation around her time but she doesn’t.
So it’s not this confined thing, it’s more of an expansive thing. A lot of people have the excuse - “Oh I don’t have time”.
You do. If you watch TV, then you have time.
How do you think the internet and social media has changed how people run business?
It’s so much easier. When she started Sticker Junkie she had to use print ads to get people to visit her website.
I want to switch gears a bit and talk about your experience on The Apprentice. How did you get on the show and what was it like?
They had been recruiting Andrea from Season 1 but she was too busy running her companies. A mentor recommended she should do it.
What’s Trump like to be around?
He was very funny and charming. They made each other laugh a lot.
What is a question you continuously ask your self?
She asks herself if she is happy.
What do you unusually discover? That something's not aligned?
Andrea believes that it’s usually directional in our own thoughts. She talks about a process from Ester Hicks called The Focus Wheel. You draw a big circle on a piece of paper and in the center write how you want to feel about something. Then write all of the things that feel good about that thing. It’s easy to focus on all the things that are ugly but you can train yourself to focus on the good things too.
What other books have been helpful for you?
The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principals by Jack Canfield
Do you do visualization?
She does them every single day. She does something called 7, 7 x 3. You do 7 mins 7 sec of meditation, 7 mins 7 sec of appreciation and 7 mins 7 sec of visualization. When you appreciate, you appreciate things that are easy to appreciate. How much you love a painting or a pen or having hot water.
Is there a reason it’s 7, 7 x 3?
Because it looks cool.
One of the things that come to mind often is the experience I had at Sonoma Magic. You hosted your retreat there. Are you still doing it?
Her next retreat will be in 2020. It’s important to create a network of entrepreneurs around you. It helps to have a bond with people who are experiencing the same issues you are.
How do you think you developed that risk tolerance?
Andrea has always had quite a high-risk tolerance but it’s easier when you hear stories from entrepreneurs, who you know are successful, dealing with the same things you are.
How do you think people can become better at taking risks?
Our life is short. It doesn’t matter how long you live for, it is still short. Any amount of time you spend worrying about failure or what other people think of you is a complete waste of you being here right now. Andrea wasted 3 years of life worrying about being a failure.
Are you grateful at all for that experience?
It taught her how to be emotionally resilient. And the second Andrea started feeling better about things she started having new business ideas.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Put a dollar figure on your time.
Do not tell your ideas, in the beginning, to anyone you know does not have your back.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
T-shirt Course: https://teeacher.com/
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther Hicks
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
Nicole Moore is a love coach and in this episode, we’re going to talk about what it really means to accept your body just the way it is. She recently posted on Instagram about how her experience of her body changed after having a baby. Our bodies are always changing and yet we all have a tendency to get hung up on why they are not the way we think they should be. In this episode, we talk about how to change our mindset about our bodies, why our self worth doesn’t have anything to do with the way we look and why we need to feel good about ourselves.
I’m curious about the changes you’ve had in your body and how that has affected you?
Nicole has observed people saying how having a baby ruined their body and this got her thinking about this message that is being spread on social media. Nicole saw a lot of posts about people ‘snapping back’ after having a baby but that didn’t happen for her. She decided to embrace where her body is right now.
How did you avoid getting into this dialogue of beating yourself up? Because I think that’s the easy thing to do.
Nicole realized she could choose not to make herself feel miserable. Throughout her 20s she suffered so much from the thoughts in her head and comparing herself to other people. She has made a commitment to herself to keep her mind full of love rather than full of negativity.
How you relate to your body, doesn’t really have anything to do with how it looks, right?
Nicole agrees. It’s all about the thoughts in your head. Which is better - to have a body that weighs more and not be in mental turmoil or to have a body that weighs less but have your mind in turmoil?
Every woman at some time has called themselves fat in their heads. And it’s not nice.
When Nicole first started gaining weight she was upset. She started to look at why her self worth was linked to her body. She had to look at what her other values were. When she was at high school she lost a lot of weight and boys started to pay attention to her. She had to go back and start unravel where this feeling came from and what her true worth was.
Can you share an example of what an internal essence would be?
For Nicole one of her essences is love. If she goes to a dinner party she could put a lot of focus on how she looks or she could focus on how to be really present with people. Your essence is who you are internally when everything that can change is stripped away.
What do you say to somebody who is feeling that their weight is holding them back in love, work or just in being more seen?
It’s not the weight. It’s your thoughts and judgments about the weight. It’s your decision that because the weight is here you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. That’s what is holding you back. When Nicole first started gaining weight, she wondered if she could still do media appearances. She thought about how she would look on camera. Then she realized that she deserved that experience of being on camera.
So often we think we need to look a certain way in order to receive love.
Although there are always people out there who will criticize how you look, that just means they aren’t the right people for you. A romantic relationship is not going to work unless you are accepted for who you are. It’s so much easier to find somebody who accepts who you are than to change who you are in order to find someone.
I love how you talk about how it’s not that you don’t have those negative thoughts, but you deal with them differently.
Nicole watches here mind all the time to see what thoughts she is having. If her mind is telling her something which makes her feel crappy, she will feel the feelings and then choose something different.
When I was put Evan to sleep and I say to him ‘you can do anything’. And he said to me the other day ‘Mummy you can do anything’. I actually found it helpful for me to hear it from him. It reminded me of the power of words.
Kids are the truth. For Nicole one of the biggest benefits of having a child is seeing what she wants her son to have in his life and to see what that means about her perception about things.
People talk a lot about what they lose by becoming a mum but there’s so much that we gain. Focusing on all the bodily changes misses the point about what it means to become a mum.
Don’t you think that helps soften some of the guilt that you may have?
This conversation about women and their bodies just takes away power. We only have so much attention available throughout the day. Nicole used to count calories and it would take up so much attention and so much power. When we’re not focused on what our bodies look like we have so much power to focus elsewhere.
What would you tell your younger self?
You are better than you think you are.
You are already worthy.
You’re always going to be beautiful.
And you are going to meet him and he is going to love you
Nicole has a lot of single clients and they have this thought in their heads that they may not meet the guy. If you look at how much time is in front of you, it’s crazy to think that you won’t meet someone.
Just to play the other side. It doesn’t mean don’t take of yourself. It doesn’t mean don’t buy the eye cream or get hair extensions. It doesn’t mean you don’t take action on things that make you want to look better. It’s more about where that is coming from. Is it coming from a place of ‘I’m enough’ or is it coming from a place of ‘I’m not enough’?
Nicole talks about how she gets eyelash extension regularly but she also has a conversation with herself about how even if she didn’t have them she would still look good. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things but it’s important to do these things from a place of worth.
The way that we look, the way we do our hair, we can let those things hold us back. I know I have.
Nicole did a Facebook live video where somebody commented that she needed to condition her extensions. Those sorts of comments might stop a lot of people from putting themselves out there. Nicole told herself that it was more important that she jumps on and does Facebook live even if she doesn’t look perfect. It’s all about the inner game.
And then it becomes easier if you reinforce that positive relationship with yourself.
One of the things we can do is stop giving attention to this conversation. Nicole often reminds herself that men will just turn on the camera and start recording without thinking about how they look.
We identify with all of these parts of ourselves. Hair is a big deal. How do not we let these perceptions of ourselves and how we look hold us back?
It’s alright to have an idea of how you want to look, but we wouldn't let ourselves feel bad if that’s not how we are right now.
And complimenting ourselves. And other people. I love seeing you without your glasses because you can see your face.
Glasses was something Nicole had to accept about herself.
It’s a habit we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and see everything that is wrong with us. That we want to change and want to fix. I’ve done some mirror work, where I looked at what was beautiful about me. I can see myself start to change.
Our self-perceptions determine our reality. Most people have a more favorable perception of us than we do. Aside from the haters. When we look in the mirror and see flaws that come from someone in the past telling us that we have a flaw.
What is a question people can start asking themselves?
What is the beauty I can see in myself today?
What’s the one thing that I really love about my face?
What idea can I let go off today that’s stopping me from feeling beautiful?
How can I make sure that in my heart, on the inside, I feel good about me?
Anything else you want to say?
You deserve to feel good about yourself.